Tuesday, 12 April 2016

UNIPORT VC claims protest was staged to remove him from office

Just after the violent protest by students of the University of Port Harcourt on Monday, April 11 which led to the shooting and killing of a student, Prof. Ndowa Lale who is the vice chancellor of the institution has claimed it was a ploy to get him removed.

The Punch reports that the vice chancellor made this revelation on Tuesday, April 11 when the acting commissioner of police in Rivers State, Mr. Mobolaji Odesanya, visited the institution to ascertain the level of damage. 

Lale claimed that the protest which led to the death of a student was possibly sponsored by people who wanted to get him removed from his position.

“I understand that some of them (protesters) are in touch with some other people who for whatever reasons want me, the VC, out of office.  Therefore, they think that if they do this protest that the vice chancellor would be removed from office.” He expressed regret at the demise of Peter Ofurum but denied knowledge of the circumstances leading to his death. 

He also claimed the protest was related to the increase in school fees but blamed it on students who wanted to be certified without siting for exam.

“As a university, we sincerely regret and mourn with the family of the deceased. I hear a student died in some circumstances that are not very clear to me. I regret it so much that such happened. 

“All you hear is that the VC increased fees. Firstly, in federal universities, we don’t pay tuition fees, government only allows us to take some charges in which we use to provide students certain services. 

“The charges that are being paid today in this institution were negotiated last two years under the administration of Prof. Joseph Ajienka, the former VC of the institution.

“I have just stayed nine months, during this period and I have not contemplated or dreamt of increasing any payment by a kobo. 

“The students know it, but because they want to score cheap points, they are misleading the public. UNIPORT students want to acquire degrees without writing exams. If such schools existed, I would have attended because I wrote exams in all the schools I attended. 

“Last semester, we also went through tough times in order to ensure that the students write exams and they wanted to go on rampage. This time it is standard practice that students must register to be bonafide members of a school; that is all we asked them to do.”

The deputy commissioner of police promised that an autopsy will be carried out on the body of the student. “We heard of a corpse that was recovered. 

This corpse has been sent to the mortuary ready for autopsy. Apart from that, there was no other report of death.

“The police did not move into the campus until late 9pm when the VC wrote officially to the police to move in because we have no right to move in when we have not been given the permission to do so. 

“Prior to that time, we were outside preventing the student from blocking the road and preventing the breach of the public peace. The police did not use firearm on the students and they did not shoot at any student.”

Source- Punch (Nigeria)

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